STOW – In less than 48 hours the first of four Town Hall Meetings hosted by Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) will be taking place at the North Harmony Senior Citizen Center in Stow.
Reed, who represents the state’s 23rd congressional district, is moving forward with the meetings despite some of his Republican colleagues being confronted with angry crowds at other recent gatherings across the country. Reed said he anticipates there will be many who show up Saturday to voice their concerns, but is hopeful a dialogue will be able to take place.
“Representing 717,000 people, there’s no way we are going to agree 100 percent of the time, but I am hopeful that through the rhetoric and through the conversation, we can find that common ground that is so desperately needed to solve the American people’s problems that they face day-to-day,” Reed said.
The congressman also said that since joining congress in 2010, he’s held more than 200 town hall meetings, and he’s learned a lot from that process.
“This format seems to work well for us and we’re going to continue as is,” Reed said, adding that he doesn’t plan to change his Town Hall format in anticipation of increased attendance from those who will voice their concerns and disapproval with how he represents the district. “If more people show up – obviously there is security concerns and issues with fire codes and that type of stuff – but we’ll do our best to provide as much access as possible and we’ll do our best to make sure that we’re listening to everybody who shows up, because it’s important to do that.”
Reed also said that there won’t be an effort to screen attendees to determine which ones are residents of his district, and which may be coming in from outside of the 23rd.
“We don’t do any pre-screening, so if folks are coming in from outside the state or across the country, then so be it, but my hope is that we can focus on the people we represent, give them an opportunity to express themselves, and to tell us what’s on their mind,” Reed said.
Reed made his comments to regional media during a conference call on Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday morning the Corning Republican also appeared on the nationally televised “Fox and Friends” morning show on the Fox News Network to discuss the upcoming town hall meetings. During that interview, he said a lot of people who are concerned with policy he supports want to see a 180 turn, and said that a recent effort to do political activist training is a higher level of “organized protest” and an attempt to “disrupt and disengage the process,” although he added he hopes that won’t be the case with the upcoming Town Halls.
“There’s always been an organized protest at times and I think this is just a higher level of that organization,” he told the program’s host.
Reed has been criticized by Democrats and progressives for supporting measures to cut back on environmental and corporate oversight regulations, supporting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as well as supporting President Trump and several of his executive initiatives.
The first Town Hall on Saturday will take place at the North Harmony Senior Citizens Center in Stow at 9:15 a.m., with the other scheduled to take place at the Pine Valley VFW in Cherry Creek at 11:30 a.m.